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Important Updates

Updated April 8 Students can now download the digital testing application and take digital practice to prepare them for the testing experience. See below for more information on digital practice and taking the digital exam.

2021 Exam Information

AP Physics 1 Exams will be offered on paper in early May and late May, and as a digital exam in early June. Both the paper and digital versions of the AP Physics 1 Exam will be full length and measure the full range of skills and knowledge specified in the course and exam description (CED), giving students the opportunity to qualify for college credit and placement. Note: Starting with the 2021 exam, Units 8–10 will no longer be tested in AP Physics 1. Units 1–7 will be represented on the AP Physics 1 Exam in approximately similar proportion to their relative weights as shown below and in the course and exam description.  

The paper exams will follow the typical multiple-choice and free-response format given in the CED. The digital exam will take the same amount of time, but will contain more multiple-choice questions and fewer free-response questions. On the digital exam, students will answer free-response questions with a keyboard, rather than by hand. The digital exam app will include any symbols students would need to type their responses. Students taking digital exams will not be asked to draw or graph as part of their response – rather, these skills may be assessed by asking students to provide explanations about given diagrams or other stimuli. No handwritten or photographed work will be accepted.

There are differences between the paper and digital versions of some 2021 AP Exams, and those variations differ by course. The information below applies to AP Physics 1 only. View a summary of all 2021 AP Exam formats.

Learn more about 2021 testing.

AP Daily and AP Classroom
Short, searchable AP Daily videos can be assigned alongside topic questions to help you cover all course content, skills, and task models, and check student understanding. Unlock personal progress checks so students can demonstrate their knowledge and skills unit by unit and use the progress dashboard to highlight progress and additional areas for support. As the exam approaches, assign AP practice exams in the AP Classroom question bank and encourage students to take advantage of AP Daily: Live Review sessions April 19–29.

Sign In to AP Classroom

Exam Overview

Exam questions assess the course concepts and skills outlined in the course framework. For more information, download the AP Physics 1 Course and Exam Description (CED).

Encourage your students to visit the AP Physics 1: Algebra-Based student page for exam information.

Digital Practice and Testing Information

Updated April 8

Digital Practice Now Available

Starting April 8, students can try out the test-day experience by answering example questions in the digital testing application. See the Digital Practice page for general information about practice options.

AP Physics 1 students will have two options to answer example questions in the digital testing application. Both provide approximately the same time limit per question as the full exam.

  • Digital Practice has the same sections as the actual digital exam, but with shortened MCQ sections:
    • Section I: 9 multiple-choice questions, 15 minutes, followed by a shortened 5-minute break
    • Section II, Part A: 4 multiple-choice questions, 7 minutes, followed by a 1-minute pause
    • Section II, Part B: full-length FRQ section (2 questions, 45 minutes)
  • The App Demo is an even shorter subset of the questions in Digital Practice–5 multiple- choice questions, a 2-minute break, and 1 free-response question.

We highly recommend all students take the Digital Practice, and strongly advise that if they can’t take the Digital Practice, they at least take the App Demo. Both can be taken multiple times, and can be accessed directly in the digital testing application. Students can access their answers and solution materials (MCQ answer key, FRQ scoring guidelines) for the Digital Practice. Note: Taking the App Demo after completing Digital Practice may override student answers from Digital Practice. Teachers can also access digital practice from the teacher dashboard, available beginning April 22.

Taking the Digital Exam

Students should be aware of some aspects of testing digitally that they’ll encounter—in the Digital Practice and on exam day:

  • As a reminder, students will answer all multiple-choice questions and type all free-response answers directly in the digital exam application. Scratch paper is permitted for notes or planning, but students cannot handwrite or otherwise upload responses.
    • The free-response questions won’t require students to draw diagrams, charts, or complicated mathematical expressions. All responses can be typed on a regular computer keyboard, along with a selection of formatting options (including superscript and subscript) and additional special characters that can be accessed by clicking the Omega button on the toolbar where you answer free-response questions:

  • Some free-response question prompts reference a specific question part. Students can click on the » symbol shown in the prompt to automatically scroll to the referenced location.
  • The AP Physics 1 Equation Sheet can be accessed with the Reference button in the upper right button bar of the application. The interface and layout are different in the digital testing application than in the paper exam booklet, so students should take a look when they take digital practice.
  • A four-function, scientific, or graphing calculator is allowed on the exam. However, students will need to bring their own calculator because the digital testing application does not include one.
  • As a reminder, students cannot go back to questions they’ve already answered, and cannot skip ahead.
  • However, free-response questions will each be presented in multiple parts, and students will answer each part on a separate screen. They may move among the parts of the question currently being answered, with the Back and Next buttons. Once they’ve entered their response to the last part of a question, they won’t be able to go back to any part of that question.
  • Exam directions and section-specific directions will not be read by a proctor–they’ll appear entirely in the application. Students will see them at the beginning of each section, and can access them at any time during the exam. Please note that the exam timer starts when the directions appear. While students should read the directions, they should be aware that the timer will be running while they do so. Teachers and students can view the full text of the exam and section directions in advance of the exam.

More information about taking digital exams is available in the Digital Testing Guide.

Digital Exam Readiness Dashboard

Beginning April 22, AP teachers and AP coordinators will have access to a new digital exam readiness dashboard. Teachers and coordinators will access the dashboard from their personalized AP login page (after signing in through AP Central or through myap.collegeboard.org). The dashboard can be used to monitor students’ progress in taking the steps necessary before and on exam day to enable them to take a digital exam. See details in the “Preparing for Digital AP Exams” section of the AP Digital Testing Guide.

Exam Dates

  • Event
    • WED, MAY 5, 2021, 12 PM LOCAL

    AP Physics 1: Algebra-Based Exam—Administration 1

    Paper, In School
    •  
  • Event
    • Mon, May 24, 2021, 12 PM Local

    AP Physics 1: Algebra-Based Exam—Administration 2

    Paper, In School
    •  
  • Event
    • WED, JUN 9, 2021, 4 PM EDT

    AP Physics 1: Algebra-Based Exam—Administration 3

    Digital, In School and At Home
    •  

Exam Format

The AP Physics 1: Algebra-Based Exam has consistent question types, weighting, and scoring guidelines every year, so you and your students know what to expect on exam day.

Note on 2021 exams: There are differences between the paper and digital versions of some 2021 AP Exams, and those variations differ by course. The information below applies to AP Physics 1 only. View a summary of all 2021 AP Exam formats.

The AP Physics 1 digital exam will include:

  • More multiple-choice questions than the paper exam
  • Fewer free-response questions than the paper exam

Free-response questions will consist of familiar tasks that could appear on a traditional AP Exam, but they will be answerable with a regular computer keyboard and won’t require drawing or graphing. The digital exam app will include any symbols students would need to type their responses. All responses must be typed directly into the exam app. No handwritten or photographed work will be accepted.

Educators and students will be able to practice multiple-choice and free-response questions within the 2021 digital exam app, available in early April.

Early May and Late May Exams (Paper) Early June Exam (Digital)

Section I: Multiple Choice

50 Questions | 1 Hour 30 Minutes | 50% of Exam Score

 

  • Questions are either discrete questions or question sets, in which students are provided with a stimulus or a set of data and a series of related questions.
  • The section includes 5 individual multi-select questions (2 options are correct).

Section I: Multiple Choice

50 Questions | 1 Hour 30 Minutes | 50% of Exam Score

 

  • Questions are either discrete questions or question sets, in which students are provided with a stimulus or a set of data and a series of related questions.
  • The section includes 5 individual multi-select questions (2 options are correct).

Section II: Free Response

5 Questions | 1 Hour 30 Minutes | 50% of Exam Score

 

  • This section contains 5 free-response questions of the following types:
    • Experimental Design (1 question)
    • Qualitative/Quantitative Translation (1 question)
    • Short Answer: Paragraph Argument (1 question)
    • Short Answer (2 questions)

Section II: Multiple Choice and Free Response

50% of Exam Score

 


Multiple Choice (25% of Exam Score):

25 Questions | 45 Minutes


Free Response (25% of Exam Score):

2 Questions | 45 Minutes

  • This section contains 2 free-response questions of the following types:
    • Qualitative/Quantitative Translation (1 question)
    • Short Answer: Paragraph Argument (1 question)

AP Calculator Policy

A four-function, scientific, or graphing calculator is allowed on both sections of the exam.

Exam Questions and Scoring Information

2021: Free-Response Questions

Questions

Free-Response Questions